The unexpected drop in the jobless rate below 6 percent for the first time in more than six years offers Democrats their last, best hope to change the minds of voters who have long since soured on their economic stewardship.
But if history is any guide, the 248,000 jobs that employers created in September won't translate into many more votes for President Obama's party in November.
After all, the unemployment rate at this point in 2006 was a sturdy 4.5 percent, but that didn't stop voters angry about the Iraq War from sweeping out Republicans in a "thumping" rebuke of President George W. Bush.
It's not that the electorate doesn't care about the economy: Voters told pollsters as recently as last week that economic issues trump all other concerns by a wide margin.
Yet as Obama acknowledged in his address at Northwestern University on Thursday, most Americans' perceptions about the economy have barely budged in the last year, despite the creation of nearly 2 million jobs in 2014 alone and a drop in the unemployment rate to 5.9 percent from 7.2 percent over the course of 12 months.
An Associated Press-GFK poll found that the percentage of people who thought the economy had gotten better in the last year was virtually the same as the percentage who thought it had gotten worst, and most respondents said it had stayed the same.